TOPS AND BOTTOMS 2005
Wonderful historial series set in 16th century England during the reign of
Henry VIII. The protagonist is a hunchback who is a lawyer and
works for Thomas Cromwell. Fabulous books. First class mysteries and
the author is able to impart a great deal of history into the books
without slowing down the plot one iota.
Lennie Aaron, former police officer, now cat catcher. She's a PI of
sorts but she only does cats. Only thing is, she sometimes ends up doing
more when takes on a client. Lennie is somewhat dysfunctional, a very
abrasive and not terribly nice person but she gets the job done.
Wonderful short series by an Australian author who wrote these and then
disappeared off the radar.
Christopher Broomyre is one of my favourites. He is mad, bad, tacky, tasteless, politically incorrect and hilarious if you like black humour. He also is a master at the rant. Politics, society, supermarket trollies. They are all grist for his comedy mill. His books can be violent so they are not for the faint hearted.
It would be almost impossible to sum up the
plots of his books in a short review such as this, so I won't even try. If
you have a taste for black comedy, then Brookmyre will probably be just
your cup of tea.
The first in what promises to be a new series. 18 year old Paddy Meehan is
a copy boy for a newspaper but she wants to be a journalist. When a 3 year
old boy is found murdered and her
fiancee's 12 year old cousin is arrested Paddy seizes her chance to
achieve her ambition and investigates. She doesn't think the police have
got it right - they've just landed on the field of vision.
One of the most enjoyable books I've read this year. Paddy is a
wonderfully complex character - an 18 year old. Likeable yet annoying. Shy
with low self esteem but also arrogant at times. She is what many teens
are: a person still trying to learn how to be an adult. It also
An Inspector Barnaby mystery.
A mild mannered village solicitor known and liked by all, with a penchant
for making and collecting rather gruesome medieval war machines is found
dead next to one of his machines. At first police think it's a horrible
accidental death, but one of his closest friends doesn't believe so and
pushes Inspector Barnaby into investigating.
STIFF: THE CURIOUS LIVES OF HUMAN CADAVERS (W.W. Norton and Company, 2004)
A rather macabre but highly entertaining look at death after death. What
happens to the body. The history of post mortems. Oddball experiments done
on human cadavers. Body Snatchers. All sorts of off the wall information
in this little offering.
This book won the 1999 Crime Writers' Association award, The Debut Dagger,
for the best opening chapter for a book. The opening chapter is set in the
50's and is full of tension. Then the rest of the book flips to the
FLAMING LUAU OF DEATH (William Morrow, 2005)
I freely confess to having pet peeves in reading and this one zeroed in on
one of them. I find it difficult to come to terms with characters that are
too perfect. This one had the main character, Madeline Bean, organising a
weekend hen party for one of her employees in Hawaii. Everyone loves this
woman on sight so they open up their 5 star hotel to her, offer her free
day spas, free whale watching tours, and the local millionaire immediately
gives her access to his house for a party. All a little too saccharine for
my slightly dark taste.
Mr Todd started out writing post WWI books about a police detective who
hears the voice of a man in his head that he had to execute. He moved on
from that to a another character set after WWI - an old man dies leaving
everything he owns to his niece - the only surviving family member after
WWI. The author seems to be stuck on the theme of the losses of the war
and the aftermath. In this one we had people coming out of the woodwork
making claims about the old man, and the baddie in the book seemed to be
MAISIE DOBBS (Penguin, 2004)
It had rave reviews and was well written, but I found the structure of the
book just didn't work for me. The opening and closing few chapters dealt
with the crux of the mystery and the entire middle part of the book went
back in time and told the story of Maisie's life. I found the gap between
events at the beginning and end of the book just a little too great for me
to remember the little details that make a book a satisfying read.
While CROSSBONES is the latest in the Temperence Brennan series, it isn't
an investigation of a mysterious death so much as an academic exercise to
determine whether some 1st century bones
are those of Christ or not.
I thought the author's first book, RIVER OF DARKNESS was terrific. I was
pleased to get my mitts
on the follow up. Alas, I found the plot to be very similar to the first
book. Too similar for my enjoyment.
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